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thebigfeller

The Premier League - and where Norwich fit into it

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Cast your mind back to the opening day of 2015/16. We'd been promoted after playing thrilling, exuberant football, culminating on that day at Wembley, when we dominated Middlesbrough throughout and played with a quite magnificent sense of self-certainty. Alex Neil seemed way ahead of almost all his Championship counterparts, and I was certainly hopeful we could stay up and establish ourselves.

There followed a horribly rude shock. At home to Crystal Palace, who'd never even stayed up in the Prem until 2014 - exactly the sort of game we had to win if we were to survive - the gulf between the two sides was jawdropping. Terrifying. And the clearest of signs of what lay ahead for us.

I was in shock after that match. I couldn't understand how they'd raced so far clear of us. Only two seasons earlier, the Premier League had been embarrassingly bad from 9th place downwards; that Tim Sherwood's Spurs were the sixth best side in England said it all. But then something happened: which has continually intensified since. The quite colossal sums of TV wealth enjoyed by the PL - and crucially, not enjoyed by the other major European leagues - haven't just helped create truly world class sides at the top of the table. They've strengthened various mid-ranking clubs way, way beyond the reach of clubs like ourselves. That makes the league more competitive and is what's behind most of this season's sackings: specifically, it's getting harder and harder to prosper or merely stay in this league, even if clubs spend absolute bucketloads.

By the late 1990s, you could already divide the EPL into three tiers: title/European challengers, mid-table, and relegation strugglers. Now, I'd say you can divide it into five tiers - but it's Tier 3 which is growing and growing, with huge consequences for clubs like Norwich.

Tier 1: The Big Three. But of those three, Man City and Chelsea have massive inbuilt financial advantages over Liverpool, who are doing superbly to remain more or less on terms with them. Jurgen Klopp is the best pound for pound manager in the world, bar none.

Tier 2: Champions League contenders. Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal... and now, West Ham too. They're the perfect example of what TV wealth can do for a club, especially when it has a huge modern stadium and is based where everyone wants to play: in London. Of the others, Spurs will mean business under Conte; Arsenal are on the way back; and United provide a salutary lesson that it's not all about money. The formula is money plus strong leadership/management/a clear plan - and United have had none of that for many years now. Thus they've lost their identity and are like some latterday answer to Moratti's Inter in the 90s/early 2000s: endlessly throwing money at the problem and getting nowhere.

Tier 3: Everton, Leicester, Wolves, Brighton, Palace. Everton are the most established member of this tier - Nil Satis Nisi Aroundabout Eighth, seemingly forevermore - and have spent absolute fortunes over the last 5 years merely to stand still. Leicester are remarkable, have one of the best owners in the league, and might even move on from Rodgers if they don't pick up soon. Wolves, thanks to the Mendes connection, are straight back in the top 8 after changing managers with no trouble at all; Brighton sacked Hughton in order to transform their style and take the next steps, which they very much have (the underlying stats last season suggested they were much better than their results, as it's proven); and Palace are an absolute revelation. Along with West Ham, I think they're the story of the season so far: this is the best Eagles side I've ever seen by a million miles. Vieira's done a quite wondrous job to this point.

Tier 4: The most interesting tier, because it's of such concern for clubs like us. Villa, Newcastle, Southampton, Leeds. Of these, only Saints are established in this tier. They are always just about good enough to avoid trouble - kinda like they were for much of the 80s and 90s too. I've long thought they should be our true model; but they have wealth and we do not. Leeds, meanwhile, just do not spend. Bielsa did the most sensational job getting them so high last season... but they'll disappear into Tier 5 and probably back into the Championship if they won't significantly strengthen. Not least because their Argentinian alchemist will surely leave next summer if they don't.

Then come two big, big clubs with serious ambitions. Villa expect to be in Tier 3, minimum, and even to be knocking on the door of Tier 2 before too much longer: that's why they got rid of Smith, because he couldn't take them there. Whether Gerrard can, we'll have to see; I don't think they're in any kind of serious danger though. And of course, the Toon. Who the world and its wife will laugh at if they're relegated - but they'll spend big in January, and I can't see it happening. Newcastle have a long term, step by step plan which goes something like this: 

Year 1: stay up.

Year 2: top 10.

Year 3: top 6.

Year 4: top 4.

Year 5: consolidate top 4.

Year 6: title challenge.

Year 7: win title.

It'll involve several managers, with Howe charged with completing the first two or three steps before they move on. It's considerably harder now than when Man City rose up through the division, but I've no doubt Newcastle can ultimately do it. I'll be very shocked if they go down, and don't even view them as a direct relegation rival given the spending that's coming there.

Tier 5: Norwich, Burnley, Watford, Brentford. That's in order of natural club size - but the only ones who behave with the continual ruthless desire to stay in the Prem are Watford. Their, um, unique model of changing the manager practically every week mostly works, but occasionally doesn't - and Ranieri is an erratic, sublime or ridiculous manager who's no sure thing at all. Their owners are who enable them to be in the Prem at all, though. Brentford look in trouble to me now the novelty of Premier League football is wearing off; and I can't see them sacking Frank, rather like we didn't sack Farke in 2019/20. I expect them to go down ultimately.

Burnley are, well, Burnley. Who've punched so far above their financial weight for so long under an absurdly underrated manager, but only by playing prehistoric, combine harvester football. Their time at this level is coming to an end sooner or later. And finally, ourselves: with a target nowadays of being not top 26, but top 17. Which, believe it or not, can still just about be achieved by winning a 2004/5-style mini-league of four clubs who I suspect will end up considerably adrift of everyone else.

We've made this change because Webber clearly believes our squad is capable of winning such a mini-league. But even if we do, even if we pull off the greatest Premier League escape ever seen, we really can't go much further. Not with our owners' lack of resources. Consider, too, that we might as well expand Tier 5 to include our fellow mezzanine/Premier League 1.5-level clubs, Fulham, West Brom and Bournemouth... and at some point, we won't all be able to come back up at the same time. 

In other words, if we somehow survive, next season will be about finishing above the three promoted clubs (but Bournemouth look fantastic right now) and/or say, Leeds. Significant growth and improvement is out of the question - and essentially is for every club in Tier 5. 

All of which means what deep down, we already know. We will never prosper at this level without a change in ownership - which would represent a huge gamble. But that change is rendered even less likely if you note what's happened in English football over the last couple of decades: namely, its competitive depth has steadily moved southwards. Owners and players mostly want to be based in London or at least, on the plush beyond belief south coast: which has helped West Ham, Palace, Brighton, Bournemouth (no more than a League 1 club in natural size), Fulham and Watford. Brighton are now an established top division club, having never been so at any point in their history; ditto their hated rivals, Palace. 

Yet at the same time, traditional forces have been punished by geography. All three north-east clubs. Leeds and both Sheffield clubs. Derby and Forest too. Look at Forest and Wednesday in particular: they've both floundered terribly for over a generation now. 

Yes, there are exceptions. Leeds at least are back in the top flight; Leicester are a source of hope to so many clubs our size; and of course, Newcastle now as well. But they're an absolutely enormous club, and spending insane amounts is literally a drop in the ocean for their nation state owners. By contrast, for clubs like ourselves (and our historic twin, Sunderland), the problem is simple. Location, location, location. 

The Premier League - the Greed Is Good League - is probably the most Thatcherite thing in existence anywhere. What Thatcherism did not only to the north of the country, but almost anywhere outside south-east England, the PL is doing as well. That's the extent of the challenge we face. Even though Norwich is a beautiful part of the world and only two hours from London, we'll always sign our fair share of duds because players don't want to come and agents aren't interested in dealing with a club living within its means.

All of which means that fourth from bottom this season would be the most magnificent achievement. And under these owners, is the best we can possibly achieve: likely at any point. I'll celebrate it like an FA Cup win if, somehow, it happens. 

Edited by thebigfeller
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Interesting post and a fairly accurate assessment. However, I don't think our model is all gloom and doom - we've pretty much always had a self funding model.

Now that our once precarious financial position has been brought under control, I don't see why we cannot emulate a Leicester or a Wolves of the world. As for the Brightons and Crystal Palaces of the world they will typically have  survival as their over-riding priority.

I can see that bottom tier probably being on par with the top tier for excitement and will probably contain around a dozen teams. The middle tier will be so boring!

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5 minutes ago, ABC (A Basingstoke Canary) said:

Interesting post and a fairly accurate assessment. However, I don't think our model is all gloom and doom - we've pretty much always had a self funding model.

Now that our once precarious financial position has been brought under control, I don't see why we cannot emulate a Leicester or a Wolves of the world. As for the Brightons and Crystal Palaces of the world they will typically have  survival as their over-riding priority.

I can see that bottom tier probably being on par with the top tier for excitement and will probably contain around a dozen teams. The middle tier will be so boring!

We can only do that with new, ludicrously wealthy owners. It's flat out impossible without that.

And no, Brighton and Palace's horizons have moved beyond mere survival. Because of their wealthy owners.

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Thanks for taking the time to lay out your thoughts @thebigfeller and it's very much how I see the tiers of wealth in the PL and growing inequality. That said, whilst neatly and logically summarised, it is very depressing. I always want to see us get to the PL. Each time I'm full of hope. Yet, even the Championship is developing more defined tiers as well, I feel so anyway. 

Unless ownership changes and the club becomes 'something else' then we are destined to be nomads between the divisions. On the other hand, under the present ownership I've enjoyed a great roller coaster ride. I've liked the community work and our identity too, helped no end by Daniel Farke's reign. All things end though and changes are afoot these next few years, maybe sooner. It will continue to be interesting for us. Also, to watch occasional outlier clubs try and break into both the PL and Championship.

You can only try and enjoy what you have now.

Edited by sonyc
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Good post as always. There was an article in the Guardian a while back about parachute payments, and a comment BTL from a bitter Birmingham fan that really stuck in my mind. 

"Bournemouth have six fans, but one of them is a billionaire".

Not sure anything better sums up the insanity of the way football currently works in this country. I really like the fact that we've been trying to 'do different' and am sceptical about how much I'd enjoy even a benevolent billionaire funding us to take the next step. But a situation where our finances make PL survival all but impossible, while at the same time giving us an unfair advantage in the Championship, is going to have diminishing returns of excitement.

But I imagine that's also the case at their various levels for fans of Everton and Southampton, isn't it? Given the obscene amounts of money required to even stand still, will there come a stage where almost everyone is asking what the point of all this nonsense is?

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And on a slightly different note, the only hope with Newsandcastle is that they can't spend any of this money until January. Got to hope that they are adrift by then which would make people think twice about signing for them. A long shot, I admit, but our game at St James's Park is absolutely colossal.

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3 hours ago, Robert N. LiM said:

Good post as always. There was an article in the Guardian a while back about parachute payments, and a comment BTL from a bitter Birmingham fan that really stuck in my mind. 

"Bournemouth have six fans, but one of them is a billionaire".

Not sure anything better sums up the insanity of the way football currently works in this country. I really like the fact that we've been trying to 'do different' and am sceptical about how much I'd enjoy even a benevolent billionaire funding us to take the next step. But a situation where our finances make PL survival all but impossible, while at the same time giving us an unfair advantage in the Championship, is going to have diminishing returns of excitement.

But I imagine that's also the case at their various levels for fans of Everton and Southampton, isn't it? Given the obscene amounts of money required to even stand still, will there come a stage where almost everyone is asking what the point of all this nonsense is?

Well, you'd have thought so - but what's weird is it just doesn't happen. As football has become ever more stratified and ever more predictable, it's constantly grown in popularity in England and all over the world. I've never been able to understand that.

Not only that - but when Everton are 10th, 12th or something, many of their fans demand the manager's head, insist he's useless, then get boundlessly excited when the next bloke starts well... only for the cycle to repeat over and over and over again. Like they all have amnesia or something. 

Darren Eadie called it 'deja vu' the other week on CC. We're still effectively where we were early in his playing days at the club, and 'ambition' (translation: refusal to spend what we don't have) has always been the watchword at NCFC for as long as I've been a fan. But so many other fanbases must suffer deja vu as well, yet keep watching, keep believing, keep dreaming. A triumph of blind faith over reality - but football's an emotional pursuit. It's never been a rational one.

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15 hours ago, thebigfeller said:

All of which means what deep down, we already know. We will never prosper at this level without a change in ownership - which would represent a huge gamble. But that change is rendered even less likely if you note what's happened in English football over the last couple of decades: namely, its competitive depth has steadily moved southwards. Owners and players mostly want to be based in London or at least, on the plush beyond belief south coast: which has helped West Ham, Palace, Brighton, Bournemouth (no more than a League 1 club in natural size), Fulham and Watford. Brighton are now an established top division club, having never been so at any point in their history; ditto their hated rivals, Palace. 

Yet at the same time, traditional forces have been punished by geography. All three north-east clubs. Leeds and both Sheffield clubs. Derby and Forest too. Look at Forest and Wednesday in particular: they've both floundered terribly for over a generation now. 

 

An interesting insight. I’m not sure it is entirely true geographically, given that three of the biggest clubs in world football, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd, are in the north-west, and all three have had mega-takeovers comparatively recently. But I take the basic point about competitive depth in the Premier League because of the increasing attractiveness of what might be called middle-class clubs in the south.

This shift is similar, though not exactly the same, to what happened in the 1960s and 1970s, with the collapse of British manufacturing and mining, and even fishing. Then it was previously very successful medium- or even small-sized clubs that declined, as the local economies disintegrated.

So in Lancashire, for example, although Man Utd and Everton still prospered, the mill town clubs such as Burnley and Blackburn went into a tailspin. And into that gap came clubs, including ourselves,  from non-industrial areas.

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23 minutes ago, PurpleCanary said:

An interesting insight. I’m not sure it is entirely true geographically, given that three of the biggest clubs in world football, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd, are in the north-west, and all three have had mega-takeovers comparatively recently. But I take the basic point about competitive depth in the Premier League because of the increasing attractiveness of what might be called middle-class clubs in the south.

This shift is similar, though not exactly the same, to what happened in the 1960s and 1970s, with the collapse of British manufacturing and mining, and even fishing. Then it was previously very successful medium- or even small-sized clubs that declined, as the local economies disintegrated.

So in Lancashire, for example, although Man Utd and Everton still prospered, the mill town clubs such as Burnley and Blackburn went into a tailspin. And into that gap came clubs, including ourselves,  from non-industrial areas.

Well there you go! Traditional British industries were in long-term decline long before Thatcher so for the OP to claim that it all started after 1979 is completely false. Whoever came in at that point would have had to deal with those structural changes. Had it not been Thatcher, it would have been someone else with "ism" attached on the end of their name. The same structural changes were taking place in America, yet Reagan was blamed as the man who "sold" America. In both cases, industrial power was ebbing east.

Norwich City were on the up from the late 60s, early 70s - well before the supposedly Thatcherite Chase in 1986. But it has been our socialist owners who have always despised the wealth of the EPL who have arrested that upward trajectory and made us into what can only be described at best as Championship Plus. Socialists by nature like to prosecute class warfare - so in Delia & Wynnie's case it is to rail against everything that the EPL stands for by refusing to join the party. So without a change of ownership we will remain on the outside looking in. Taking a bit of parachute dosh here and there. Oops! Best keep that quiet. Doesn't quite tally with socialist values.

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23 minutes ago, Big Vince said:

Well there you go! Traditional British industries were in long-term decline long before Thatcher so for the OP to claim that it all started after 1979 is completely false. Whoever came in at that point would have had to deal with those structural changes. Had it not been Thatcher, it would have been someone else with "ism" attached on the end of their name. The same structural changes were taking place in America, yet Reagan was blamed as the man who "sold" America. In both cases, industrial power was ebbing east.

I don’t say it started with Thatcher. I said it started in the 1960s. So why have you pulled out my quote rather than the OP’s to complain about?

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2 minutes ago, PurpleCanary said:

I don’t say it started with Thatcher. I said it started in the 1960s. So why have you pulled out my quote rather than the OP’s to complain about?

I used some of your piece IN ORDER to complain about the OP.

Not a complaint about you. In fact, complimentary.

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11 hours ago, PurpleCanary said:

An interesting insight. I’m not sure it is entirely true geographically, given that three of the biggest clubs in world football, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd, are in the north-west, and all three have had mega-takeovers comparatively recently. But I take the basic point about competitive depth in the Premier League because of the increasing attractiveness of what might be called middle-class clubs in the south.

This shift is similar, though not exactly the same, to what happened in the 1960s and 1970s, with the collapse of British manufacturing and mining, and even fishing. Then it was previously very successful medium- or even small-sized clubs that declined, as the local economies disintegrated.

So in Lancashire, for example, although Man Utd and Everton still prospered, the mill town clubs such as Burnley and Blackburn went into a tailspin. And into that gap came clubs, including ourselves,  from non-industrial areas.

Liverpool and Man Utd are so globally massive that they're bound to be exceptions. Man City, like Newcastle, had obvious enormous potential before being bought... and as mentioned, any amount of money is basically nothing to oil-rich nation states. But said nation states won't buy anyone - only clubs with that sort of huge potential. 

Your point about the 60s and 70s is a very good one. It was also a time when, post-war austerity having ended, attendances started falling from what was an extraordinary peak: when football was about the only leisure activity on offer for so many working class people. 

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10 hours ago, Big Vince said:

Well there you go! Traditional British industries were in long-term decline long before Thatcher so for the OP to claim that it all started after 1979 is completely false. Whoever came in at that point would have had to deal with those structural changes. Had it not been Thatcher, it would have been someone else with "ism" attached on the end of their name. The same structural changes were taking place in America, yet Reagan was blamed as the man who "sold" America. In both cases, industrial power was ebbing east.

Norwich City were on the up from the late 60s, early 70s - well before the supposedly Thatcherite Chase in 1986. But it has been our socialist owners who have always despised the wealth of the EPL who have arrested that upward trajectory and made us into what can only be described at best as Championship Plus. Socialists by nature like to prosecute class warfare - so in Delia & Wynnie's case it is to rail against everything that the EPL stands for by refusing to join the party. So without a change of ownership we will remain on the outside looking in. Taking a bit of parachute dosh here and there. Oops! Best keep that quiet. Doesn't quite tally with socialist values.

Whoever came in at that point did not have to deal with those changes in such an absurdly rapid, harsh beyond belief way. Reagan and Thatcher both made political choices which enriched some and devastated many more. Glasgow, the north-east of England, market towns in many parts of England and much of Wales have never recovered; ditto so much of the northern US. Which is kinda why so many of them ended up voting for Brexit and Trump - as a cry for help, because the system had completely neglected them for so long.

Which country in Europe has by far its strongest economy? Germany. How do you think they achieved that? Answer: not by turning themselves into a permanently indebted, service and spiv-based, rentier economy which rewards absolute shysters and punishes most of the population for not being born into inherited wealth and not treating homes like ****ing banks. The UK housing market is practically a pyramid scheme, set in motion by Thatcher selling off council houses by the bucketload. 

We could've been like Germany. We chose not to be. And both the US and UK are now reaping the consequences of mindboggling levels of inequality and social dislocation caused by exactly the policies you apparently support. The 'class warfare' you speak of has been prosecuted by the rich against the poor for more than 40 years now.

Your rant about socialism, meanwhile, is beyond comical. When the government hands out tens of billions to its mates, that is socialism - for the rich. When buy to let landlords pocket housing benefit from tenants they are screwing, that is socialism... for the rich. Meanwhile:

- Where were you born, and how?

- Who educated you, and where?

- Who treated you if you've ever been ill?

- How do you get around from place to place?

Schools, hospitals, roads... all provided by socialism, which nobody could even survive without. But tell us again about how awful socialism is when the NHS has saved countless numbers of lives during this pandemic - or perhaps you think the UK could've done without them too? Clap them, then ignore them and don't give them a proper pay rise, while the richest get richer than ever. That is Britain; that is the ethos of the Premier League too.

Finally, I hope you're not writing as someone who needed furlough or universal credit at any point. Because if either you or any of your friends or loved ones did, that'd be taking cognitive dissonance to undreamt of heights. 

Edited by thebigfeller
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10 hours ago, Big Vince said:

Well there you go! Traditional British industries were in long-term decline long before Thatcher so for the OP to claim that it all started after 1979 is completely false. Whoever came in at that point would have had to deal with those structural changes. Had it not been Thatcher, it would have been someone else with "ism" attached on the end of their name. The same structural changes were taking place in America, yet Reagan was blamed as the man who "sold" America. In both cases, industrial power was ebbing east.

"Those mining communities had good working class values and a sense of family values. The men did real men's heavy work going down the pit. There were also some very close-knit communities which were able to deal with the few troublesome kids. If they had any problems they would take the kid round the back and give them a good clip round the ear and that would be the end of that.

Many of these communities were completely devastated, with people out of work turning to drugs and no real man's work because all the jobs had gone. There is no doubt that this led to a breakdown in these communities with families breaking up and youths going out of control. The scale of the closures went too far".

- Norman Tebbit

But y'know, as it appears not to have affected YOU, who cares eh? 🙄

Edited by thebigfeller

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27 minutes ago, DraytonBoy said:

Is there really a class system in the UK anymore or merely just different levels of personal wealth?

Very good question. All those polls insisting that working class people now mostly vote Tory are laughably out of date in how they define 'working class'. Whereby homeowners or those with a mortgage but without university education are treated as 'working class'... and young people in 50K plus of student debt on poverty wages and with no hope of ever owning a home or obtaining a mortgage are, apparently, 'middle class'. 😐

Assets, not income, is the real dividing line nowadays. UK politics still somehow hasn't caught up with that. But capitalism cannot work without access to capital; most people under 40 (even, under 50) don't have it. 

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1 hour ago, DraytonBoy said:

Is there really a class system in the UK anymore or merely just different levels of personal wealth?

There is clearly a “class” privileged by inherited wealth and connections, a large proportion of which are related to the use of “public” schools, and via them elite universities. It only takes a swift look at most of the Tory party to see this.

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Leeds, meanwhile, just do not spend. Bielsa did the most sensational job getting them so high last season... but they'll disappear into Tier 5 and probably back into the Championship if they won't significantly strengthen. Not least because their Argentinian alchemist will surely leave next summer if they don't.

 

Leeds don’t spend? Only over £150m in the last 2 seasons so hardly paupers. 

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2 hours ago, Nuff Said said:

There is clearly a “class” privileged by inherited wealth and connections, a large proportion of which are related to the use of “public” schools, and via them elite universities. It only takes a swift look at most of the Tory party to see this.

There isn't the same defined class structure anymore, there will always be the wealthy and connected but now that manual labour has almost disappeared what was the 'working class' has merged with the 'middle class' to form a mass who simply work so that an experienced plumber can earn as much or more than a teacher.

Football is a prime example of this change, what was once a sport watched by factory workers on their day off it is now followed by a huge cross section of people from different backgrounds with the players themselves going from being fellow workers to multi millionaires.   

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5 hours ago, thebigfeller said:

Liverpool and Man Utd are so globally massive that they're bound to be exceptions. Man City, like Newcastle, had obvious enormous potential before being bought... and as mentioned, any amount of money is basically nothing to oil-rich nation states. But said nation states won't buy anyone - only clubs with that sort of huge potential. 

Your point about the 60s and 70s is a very good one. It was also a time when, post-war austerity having ended, attendances started falling from what was an extraordinary peak: when football was about the only leisure activity on offer for so many working class people. 

This is true, Liverpool and Man Utd have always been massive, looking back at the playground of my Norwich junior school circa 1970 and the sports bags being carried by the pupils were predominantly Liverpool and Manchester Utd with a sprinkling of Norwich City (I had a Norwich City sports bag)...............

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28 minutes ago, DraytonBoy said:

There isn't the same defined class structure anymore, there will always be the wealthy and connected but now that manual labour has almost disappeared what was the 'working class' has merged with the 'middle class' to form a mass who simply work so that an experienced plumber can earn as much or more than a teacher.

Football is a prime example of this change, what was once a sport watched by factory workers on their day off it is now followed by a huge cross section of people from different backgrounds with the players themselves going from being fellow workers to multi millionaires.   

Agreed, but there is still a class above “ordinary” people whether they are plumbers or teachers. I’d define them as privileged, although that can be a loaded word. They come from a background which expects certain advantages because they’ve always had them. While I assume most posters on here don’t see paying tax as optional or have choices about things like healthcare or education, the “higher” class do. But absolutely, the old lower/working, middle and upper class distinctions have to a great extent disappeared.

Lots of interesting things occurred to me re-watching that - use of the word “vulgar” as the concept seems to have pretty much disappeared, the idea of the dignity of labour (“industrious, honest and trustworthy“) for the working class which again it could be argued has declined. But best to leave it there as people will start to say this should be in the non-football section of the board. 

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5 hours ago, DraytonBoy said:

Is there really a class system in the UK anymore or merely just different levels of personal wealth?

Interesting point. Short answer, is it depends upon how you define class.

A lot of the definitions of class have been for marketing purposes and for sociologists. If you look at it from a economic and political perspective you would get different classes. 

In essence there are two classes:

1) Ruling class(es) who are able to directly influence politics and the economy. This is done though all the means you might expect - public schools/ elite universities/ contacts/ control and influence over the media/ industry/ civil service etc. Most of these would be in the top 1-2% of wealth owners.

2) Everybody else who have very little influence. They can vote but only with highly constrained choices + they can protest and strike. Some of these group might be seen as "wealthy." You could easily have a few million but still have very little influence.

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On 15/11/2021 at 08:21, Mello Yello said:

If we were in a stock car or banger race.....we'd be in the Sinclair C5.......

Our entry for the Grand National. 

image.jpeg.6a561dd4dad0b4b855e61f87cd6a15c9.jpeg

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10 hours ago, thebigfeller said:

"Those mining communities had good working class values and a sense of family values. The men did real men's heavy work going down the pit. There were also some very close-knit communities which were able to deal with the few troublesome kids. If they had any problems they would take the kid round the back and give them a good clip round the ear and that would be the end of that.

Many of these communities were completely devastated, with people out of work turning to drugs and no real man's work because all the jobs had gone. There is no doubt that this led to a breakdown in these communities with families breaking up and youths going out of control. The scale of the closures went too far".

- Norman Tebbit

But y'know, as it appears not to have affected YOU, who cares eh? 🙄

It is not the job of the taxpayer to support communities who rely on a particular type of work for their income. Like I have said before, nobody has a divine right to a job - be it a man's man in the pit or a p**f in a hairdressers.

If mines or steelworks or docks or trawlers are financially unviable then they should be closed. No question about it.

Low tax economies encourage entrepreneurs, capital investment, regeneration and new jobs. Middlesbrough and Dundee, amongst others, spring to mind. High tax, socialist, economies encourage capital flight.

Although imperfect, capitalism is the only economic model that works. Any govt relies relies on the tax receipts from the wealth creators to fund public services. And the more jobs they create the greater the tax take to spend on these services. Socialism has no viable alternative solution that is workable.   

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25 minutes ago, Big Vince said:

It is not the job of the taxpayer to support communities who rely on a particular type of work for their income. Like I have said before, nobody has a divine right to a job - be it a man's man in the pit or a p**f in a hairdressers.

 

 

 

P**f in a hairdressers ?

Is this unreconstructed bloke trapped in the 70's ?

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Getting back to the football (and away from the far-right economics)...

I appreciate the OP and agree to an extent. But one thing keeps coming back to my mind: Norwich have actually come very close to proving that it's possible to achieve success without money. You talk about a gulf in class with Palace, but I seem to remember having a goal disallowed which turned an otherwise close game. The fact is that, under Lambert (and in Hughton's first season), we were reasonably comfortably in mid-table. It's arguably a switch in recruitment policy where we tried to sign 'bigger' players that it fell apart.

Two seasons ago was not the unmitigated disaster people like to claim. It was actually highly successful insofar as we kept the essence of the team together, made some long term improvements to the club and placed ourselves perfectly to get promoted again in far better shape to take on the task of survival. We had a disastrous transfer window this summer (again, arguably very similar to when we blew £8.5M on RVW) where we spent a lot of money without improving the first 11.

It's remarkably close to working, and there's no reason why it couldn't. We just need to sign the rough diamonds like Buendia then keep hold of them on promotion after doing the hard work to polish them up to standard. That could be Tzolis and Rashica in two years' time.

What I will say (even if others disagree) is that it's a lot of fun and excitement actually having something to play for. Far better to go up and down a few times than to become a perennial bore. I wouldn't trade places with Everton. While they might occasionally dream of Europe, we have so much more to play for.

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